David Foster Wallace’s commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College has long been a holy text for me; something I turn to when I need to be reminded that learning is so much more than the ability to memorize and regurgitate facts.
As DFW states, “the real value of education has nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness”.
It’s good to see that this will now be reaching a wider audience , albeit in an abridged form, thanks to California-based video company The Glossary. View full article »
“Shouldn’t there be a dot on that ‘i’?” – Can machines help humans mark MOOCs?
The issue of how a mark MOOCs is a moot point at the moment.
As Europeans race to play catch up with their U.S. counterparts, (no educational body left behind!?), two glaring questions rise to the fore in many articles about these massive open online courses.
- How do institutions make money from them?
- Will MOOC students be able to gain credits for offline courses?
The answer to both these questions, in my view, ultimately rests on how the courses are evaluated. View full article »
Grammar is the cabbage of language learning. You know that it’s good for you, but it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm about actually consuming it.
I always introduce the G word cautiously in class; I’m all too aware how easy it is for students’ eyes to glaze over in unison as they gamely seek to absorb the endless rules and soul-destroying exceptions.
The choice of material for English language teachers is overwhelming – there are books, podcasts, videos, Cd ROMs, Apps and websites which, when push comes to shove, are all basically explaining the same thing. View full article »
The background to this post is that I am registered on the Open University’s 7-week long massive open online course (MOOC) which also forms part of the module for students who are studying The Open University course H817, ‘Openness and innovation in elearning’. Tomorrow is week 4 and I am falling behind already so what follows as the Week 2 task.
#h817 Open Activity 7: Exploring Open Education Resources (OER)
My mission (which I decided to accept) was to read at least three articles from a suggested reading list and write a blog post of around 500 words, setting out what I perceive as the three key issues in OER, and how these are being addressed.
“Using technology to improve education is not rocket science. It’s much, much harder than that”. This soundbite from Diana Laurillard dramatically sums up the scale of the task facing educators in the face of the information overload.
Her paper on how to make teaching sustainable and effective was the one that seemed to best address the realities facing educational institutions. Whilst they recognise the inevitability of change, too many schools and universities are still run by those with a pre-digital mindset. View full article »
Robots are not teachers and teachers are not robots
Week 2 – H817, ‘Openness and innovation in e-learning’ - Some brief reflections on learning objects.
We have the tools to make learning objects but we should not objectify the teaching process. We are, after all, dealing with subjects i.e. students, pupils, learners, and therefore need to get personal too.
In the planning of my two current advanced level English as a foreign language courses I have been influenced by my recent experience with MOOCs. This has convinced me that technology only works in the classroom when it consolidates what I actually teach. In other words the machines serve the humans rather than vice versa.
My groups are not large and these are not officially blended courses. Initially, I’m experimenting with basics by sending a weekly e-mail to all participants as a follow up to each lesson. This forces me to look critically at the objects for each lesson but, perhaps more importantly, it means I have to outline my own objectives. If these are not clear to me, how can I hope them to be clear to the learners. View full article »